Nine of Spades: 0.5|1〉+0.5|0〉+8i Lives

A nine of spades featuring a cat, an \'I\' magnet, and \'vies\' magnet positioned next to the nineThe first, I landed right-side up,
The next, I saved my skin.
The third, I won at cat and mouse,
The fourth, I dragged me in.
The fifth, I wasn’t curious.
The sixth, I wasn’t swung.
The seventh, I escaped the bag.
The eighth, I got your tongue.

So of my deaths, I’ve sidestepped eight
with guile and movements deft.
And while I’m in a quantum state,
I’ve still a half-life left.


I was encouraged by my eventual (I won’t say successful) completion of the I poem, so I decided to see if I could write something similarly short on a card or two.

I was amused to see a cat on the nine of spades, as a cat is often said to have nine lives… although eight are imaginary. As well as that, the French equivalent of our idiom, ‘to call a spade a spade’ is « appeler un chat un chat », literally ‘to call a cat a cat’. 

I had many candidates for the concluding stanza of this poem, including this one:

So as of yet, I haven’t died
I’m safe in Erwin’s box.
As long as no-one looks inside
I’ll stay a paradox.

But the temptation to use ‘I’ve still a half-life left’ was too strong. I like the way ‘half-life left’ sounds, and the fact that ‘half-life’ recalls the earlier counting of lives, the superposed alive and dead states of the cat, and the half-life of the radioactive element which is presumably in a box with the cat. I don’t particularly like the other two lines I had to shoehorn in for the rhyme.

I hope my title is accurate… I don’t know much about the notation for quantum superposition.

, , ,

  1. #1 by Bry on May 4, 2008 - 7:33 pm

    You’ve written a lot of things in the last couple months that have made me go “wow”, but this is my absolute favorite so far. (Did you consider, line 3, “me and mouse”?) Looking forward to seeing how you outdo this one!


  2. #2 by angelabrett on May 4, 2008 - 8:21 pm

    Hey, it’s Bry! Thanks for the encouragement.

    I think that something along the lines of ‘me and mouse’ must have occurred to me at some point, but, for whatever reason, it didn’t stay in my mind long enough to be seriously considered. It’s probably just as well, because I would have been stuck for hours trying to decide whether ‘me’ or ‘cat’ was better. I’m definitely leaning toward ‘me’ at the moment (would I have to be beside myself to do that?)

    Now that you mention it, I’m sure I’ve seen somebody else use ‘me’ instead of the usual noun in a cliché recently. I wish I could remember who.


  3. #3 by Duncan McGibbon on May 8, 2008 - 4:12 pm

    Dear Angela,
    The cat is superb. The project is taking on life. Best wishes Duncan


  4. #4 by A meri ca on May 12, 2008 - 8:11 am



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: